Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The SEC sued AMMB Consultant Sendirian Berhad (AMC), a Malaysian investment adviser, alleging that for more than a decade, AMC charged a U.S. registered fund for advisory services that AMC did not provide. Kuala Lumpur-based AMC served as a sub-adviser to the Malaysia Fund, Inc., a closed-end fund that invests in Malaysian companies, whose principal investment adviser is Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Inc. (MSIM). The SEC alleges that AMC misrepresented its services during the fund’s annual advisory agreement review process for each year for more than 10 years, and AMC collected fees for advisory services that it did not provide.
AMC, a unit of AMMB Holdings Berhad, one of Malaysia’s largest banking groups, agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle the SEC’s charges, without admitting or denying the allegations. The case follows the SEC’s recent related action against the Malaysia Fund’s primary adviser, MSIM, and is part of an inquiry into the investment advisory contract renewal process by the SEC Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit.
According to the SEC, AMC submitted a report to the Malaysia Fund’s board of directors each year that falsely claimed that AMC was providing specific advice, research, and assistance to MSIM for the benefit of the fund. In reality, the SEC’s complaint said AMC’s services were limited to providing two monthly reports based on publicly available information that MSIM did not request or use. AMC’s advisory agreement with the fund was terminated in early 2008 after the SEC’s examination staff inquired about the services AMC was purportedly providing to the fund.